A North Carolina-based Ku Klux Klan group announced plans to hold a rally in front of the South Carolina Statehouse on July 18, the Charleston Post and Courier reported on Monday.
State officials confirmed that the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which calls itself the "largest Klan in America," filed a permit saying they expected between 100 and 200 people to attend the event on the north side of the building, where the Confederate battle flag is currently being flown. If the permit is approved, the event would be held between 3 and 5 p.m. on July 18.
The South Carolina Budget and Control Board approved the application Monday, and spokesman Brian Gaines explained that space to demonstrate was provided at the site when not already reserved.
"This is our state, and they are not welcome," Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement. Haley called for the flag to be removed from outside the building in the wake of the terrorist attack committed by 21-year-old Dylann Roof earlier this month. Lawmakers will discuss removing the flag on July 6.
While Roof faces nine counts of murder in connection with the attack, the group's leader, Robert Jones, expressed support for him.
"He was heading in the right direction; wrong target," Jones told the Post and Courier. "He should have actually aimed at the African-American gang-bangers, the ones who are selling the drugs to white youth, the ones who are robbing and raping every chance they get."
"If you can't tell, they are trying to wipe us out of the history books," the message reads. "People seem to forget that black people and even the Cherokee Nations fought for the South. Tell this Marxist government they better not dishonor out ancestors graves."